Biogenesis

Fight – Collect – Upgrade


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Global Game Jam, Biogenesis, and internet pages, oh my!

Hello everyone!

I am Jake Rushing, one of the Game AI programmers of Biogenesis. I also take responsibility for being the admin of this blog and the Facebook page for Biogenesis. The past two weeks has been pretty busy up to this point so far.

First off, last week I have to get all of the class readings done early. Why? Basically because I needed to set aside this past weekend for Global Game Jam. Me and Shea Mentges teamed up with a couple of other people to make a game that combines Heart Transplant Surgery with a Pachinko machine.Even though I spent the entire weekend coding and eating Goldfish and Donuts, I loved every second that I spent on making that game from start to finish. If you are curious to check it out, here is the link to the game. Keep in mind its still in play testing stage! Hopefully we can keep working on this and finish this in the future!

So this week is the final week of Sprint 1. Brandon Tate and I are working together to pick off one of the final tasks left to do. Thankfully, at the time of this post, we have gotten a lot of it done even though we hit an obstacle in the task that left us stumped for a while. We shouldn’t take much more time on completing this task. I have to work on expanding this game out to the internet a little more by completing this blog and making a Facebook page and creating a profile for Indie DB so I can include Biogenesis in the webpage. Even though they may not take long, I know that I have a lot on my plate along with doing more readings for other classes!

On the other note, who’s looking forward to the Super Bowl? This guy is!! Go 49ers!!


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Genesis

As the lead designer for this game, I’ve been asked time and time again where I got “the idea”. And where do good ideas come from after all? They still seem to come out of thin air much of the time. This is always especially true for me when it comes to making art. Thoughtful, purposeful design isn’t something I’m used to. What I found is that good design is best informed by things I love, and things I’m familiar with. And when I’m designing for myself, it makes all too much sense to take inspiration from things I enjoy.

I was doodling in class again. Unbreakable habit. I was listening to the lecture (I regret to say I don’t actually remember the topic) and I was thinking of ways to add a twist to well known game mechanics. My mind drifted to an old assignment: 3D Tic-Tac-Toe. As part of the assignment I had to build a simple AI. The strategy was so vastly different from regular Tic-Tac-Toe, and I never succeeded in defeating my own creation.

I love turn-based games, and my mind drifted to chess. How would the game differ with 3 playing fields instead of one? And then, get this- what if the three fields represented the sky, land, and underground? I love creature-based games, namely Pokemon. It was all too easy to pick this as my game’s main flavor. The environment and flavor were the first hints of what was to become Biogenesis.

The choice of creatures as a theme helped shape many of the game mechanics. In my mind I categorized animals into 5 main categories: fish, birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects. These became the main “classes” of the game, each with their own unique attributes. Add on a simple combat system and stats, and it’s a turn-based game based entirely on combat. But I wanted a lot more than that. A depth of strategy was important to me, so I looked for way to force players to make tough decisions. The more meaningful decisions a player makes, the more involved they become. The answer was obvious to me. Once upon a time I thought I was going to study biology if this programming thing fell through. We have creatures, so why not allow them to be changed, to be upgraded, through genetics? With that, the main game features were in place. 5 creature classes with unique abilities, genetic modification, and turn-based combat.

Perhaps the most important lesson from this is that I should never design in a void. I got past a major fear of mine and asked people for their opinions and feedback on my idea. Many of the finer features of the game only came about because someone sat still for long enough for me to bounce ideas off of them. Many thanks to those of you who did that, especially Steven. I might have left it for dead had someone not thought my vague idea had potential.